Monday, March 28, 2016

Island Resorts Report Losses Due to Power Outage

Mario, a resort owner, could do nothing but shake his head in disappointment. “I was hoping this week will be profitable for us,” he says, adding that every year, he looks forward to the extended weekend, when vacationers can hardly book a place in his resort. “This year was different. I don’t know. Maybe because the season is extremely warm, and we do not have electricity.”

Like Mario, Jose was disgruntled that power had not been restored in the island in time for the four-day weekend. “This is the last long weekend before the rains set in,” says Jose, “I was hoping to make good money this week as a buffer for the rainy days, but the island utility did not rise to the occasion.”

Mario and Jose, like all the other resort, hotel and restaurant owners in the island, are reeling from the effects of an unprecedented drop in the season’s number of tourists, which was reportedly halved. “They have shun our island, because it will not be comfortable to stay in any resort or hotel here in this condition,” says Mario. “Our resort may have small generator sets, but they are expensive to run, and they are not enough to power all our rooms, especially when air conditioners are turned on.”

Jose brings to light another challenge: “Because there is no electricity, our water stations do not function, so we do not have water in our resort. We have to supply our guests with gallons of bottled water to be used for bathing. This is adding not only to our expenses but also to their inconvenience.”

Mario and Jose’s island lost electricity when power was cut off due to a power plant accident. It has been two weeks since the incident, but power is yet to be restored. “We still hope to make the best out of what’s left of summer,” says Mario, “but in order for our businesses to be profitable again, our island has to have constant and reliable electricity again.”

Keeping islands supplied with reliable electricity comes with several challenges for island utility providers. The wide distance between the mainland and the other islands in the vicinity poses significant difficulties in moving reliable electricity, in case of unforeseen power outages. Island-based businesses can resort to running their own local power generation equipment, like small diesel gensets, or solar or wind energy systems, but their production may not be enough to fully run an entire facility, especially during peak seasons. Then, there are allied island utilities, like water, that also depend on electricity to be delivered.

As a proactive stance against unforeseen electricity challenges, island power utility providers need ready energy sources, which are available on-demand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to meet their customers’ energy needs. Island power utilities will find benefit in partnering with multi-megawatt temporary power providers, which can supply reliable electricity anytime and anywhere it is needed.
Temporary power plants can be deployed at a moment’s notice and can be easily installed to start supplying electricity in a few days. The generators that make up the plants are containerized, so they can be easily delivered as complete power packages anywhere in the world, even in remote islands. They are modular, which means they can fit a wide variety of site lay-outs, and do not need to be laid out on a huge space – particularly advantageous for small islands. They also have low-noise and low-emission operations, so situating them within the vicinity of hotels, resorts and tourist spots will not be a problem.

The latest-technology temporary power plants can be easily connected to the existing local power infrastructure in islands, and can generate power either in synchronization with the local power generation plants or as a standalone system. They are flexible in power and voltage, and their electricity output can be scaled up or down to meet islands’ varying electricity demand.
Temporary power solutions will not require a sizable capital expenditure and, owing to their operational reliability and fuel efficiency, will considerably reduce the operating and maintenance expenses of island utility providers.

“We can’t dwell on the lost opportunity of this past long weekend,” says Mario. “But, I hope that our island power utility provider has learned a lesson or two from this incident.”

“This extended blackout has not only affected our businesses,” says Jose. “I hope that this does not stunt our tourism industry.”


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Sunday, March 27, 2016

To Rent or Go Permanent: A Mining Perspective

By: Julian Ford, Chief Commercial Officer, Altaaqa Global CAT Rental Power

The mining industry has played an integral part in Africa’s history and progress. Though currently weathering unfavorable economic circumstances, Mining will continue to be important in the progressive growth of the continent’s economy.

Africa is instrumental in providing the world with precious metals and commodities, including platinum, diamond, gold, copper, steel and aluminum. Many of the mines sites in Africa, however, are in remote locations, where power infrastructure may not exist or are still developing, or where a reliable connection to national grids can still be improved. This poses a challenge to mine operations, established and developing alike, particularly in light of the fact that without access to a sufficient or reliable source of electricity, mining companies run the risk of losing on profit, valuable production time or opportunities for growth.

In coming up with a solution to ensure a consistent supply of electricity to the sites, mining companies often find themselves choosing between building a permanent power plant or turning to temporary electricity. Julian Ford, Chief Commercial Officer of global power solutions provider Altaaqa Global, shares his insights on how temporary power solutions can benefit mine operations especially during these economically trying times.

Why rent?

It is most advantageous to specify temporary power during the pre-feasibility/feasibility stage of mining operations, when mining companies are applying for finance. This could help them secure financing for the project.

“Temporary power solutions can support the growth phase of mine operations, because they provide flexibility, scalability, risk mitigation and cost minimization,” says Ford. Specifying the services of temporary power providers during this stage will preclude the need for mining companies to spend scarce CAPEX in procuring their own generators or building permanent power facilities. “With temporary power, mines can opt to start small, then add power capacity as their operations grow. They can pay for the rented electricity from their operational profits,” he says.

As mine operations develop and become established, mining companies will eventually find benefit in building their own permanent power plants, which, however, may take a substantial amount of time to complete. “While the permanent power plants are being constructed,” says Ford, “temporary power can sustain the mine operations. As soon as the permanent facilities are constructed and fully operational, mining companies can simply end the contract, and the temporary power plants will be immediately demobilized. This way, mining companies will not have surplus equipment, because everything was only rented.”

Temporary power solutions are also beneficial for ongoing mine operations, in times of power shortage or emergency situations. “When mine operations need additional power to sustain production, temporary power providers can easily deploy and install temporary power plants at their sites in a matter of days to supply continuous and reliable electricity,” says Ford.

As commodity prices remain depressed, and full economic recovery continues to be elusive for developed and emerging countries alike, mining companies are in the midst of challenging times. “In these times, mining companies cannot afford to subject their operations at risk, owing to lack of funds or long project lead times. Renting power does not require spending scarce CAPEX that is usually related to building permanent power plants. Temporary power plants can also be tailored to any power or voltage, so there is no longer a need to build support power infrastructure to run the rental plants. Additionally, installing temporary power plants will only take days, whereas constructing a permanent power infrastructure may span longer periods of time. This means that in a short time, mine operations can be up and running, and producing.”

“Hiring electricity can prove advantageous for both established and nascent mine operators. It can provide operational flexibility, enhance a site’s productivity and help optimize its processes without the need for a long lead time and a sizeable capital expenditure,” says Ford. “As mining companies realize the benefits of hiring power, it will no longer be uncommon in the coming years to see larger temporary power plants being hired on a longer-term basis within the mining industry.” 

*This article was published in the Web portal of Mining Weekly, South Africa:


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Temporary Power Solutions for Growing Mining Operations

One of the ways that can help mining companies secure financing for a project is to specify temporary power solutions during the pre-feasibility/feasibility stage. Temporary power solutions can support growing mining operations by providing flexibility, scalability, risk mitigation and cost minimization.

For more information on how temporary power solutions can benefit mining companies, please visit our website at

Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What is Load Shedding?

Chances are, you have already read or heard about load shedding in the past. For those of you living in areas with a stable supply of electricity, load shedding may be an extremely alien concept. But, did you know that many regions in the world still suffer from power demand and supply imbalance, so lights in those places go off at certain times? Here is a simple explanation of what load shedding is, and a suggestion of a possible solution to keep the lights on.

Load shedding happens when people demand more electricity than what the power utilities can produce. A possible solution to provide everyone with electricity is not to provide everyone with electricity at the same time. Power companies may have to cut the electricity supply of certain users at particular times.

Often, power companies do not decide to shed load just like that. As soon as they recognize that the demand is outstripping the supply, they warn people to conserve electricity and limit their consumption. Unfortunately, this strategy often proves ineffective, so power companies are left with no choice but to resort to more drastic measures.

A point of clarification: Load shedding is often called rolling blackouts, but that may be a misnomer, if you want to be lexically strict about it. A blackout is usually an unforeseen power outage, and as such cannot be scheduled. It can also cause severe damage to power infrastructure.

Load shedding, on the other hand is a controlled response to power demand-supply imbalance. Instead of risking a blackout, power providers will decide on the best way to ration electricity, so that the burden of the shortage can be spread across their networks. Load shedding instances are usually scheduled, and establishments that are highly dependent on electricity, like manufacturing plants or supermarkets, are often informed in advance.

Though load shedding is scheduled, and residents and businesses are notified before it is applied, it is still a huge inconvenience and, if not resolved, can prove detrimental to social and economic progress. Load shedding can perfectly avoided by hiring rental power plants to boost the supply of electricity in certain areas. When the supply meets the demand, then the need to shed load will be negated. People and businesses will have a constant and reliable supply of electricity, and their day-to-day activities will no longer have to be adjusted or interrupted.


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Brownouts, Blackouts, Power Surges: What’s the Difference?

We offer hear the words blackout, brownout or power surge when the topic revolves around problems in electricity supply. For some, knowing the exact meaning of the terms is not at all important, because for them, the words only mean one thing: inconvenience. But, it is essential for everyone to have an idea of what they are, so that we know the root cause of the problem and how we can keep ourselves prepared for and safe from their consequences.

Here is an overview of what these terms actually mean…

A brownout is a drop in the power supply that leads to a dip in voltage. When a brownout happens, one may notice that lights become dim. Though brownouts are not total power failures, they may damage electrical equipment. Especially vulnerable during brownouts are induction and three-phase electrical motors, because they can overheat. A solution to frequent brownouts is to have a back-up power system that will provide the necessary power in case the voltage drops.

A blackout is way more serious than a brownout: It refers to a complete loss of power within a certain geographic area. Blackouts may be caused by several factors, and may take time to resolve, depending on the structure of the affected power network.

Power surges are known to be the most detrimental power disturbance, which can permanently damage many types of electric appliances. They occur when something increases the electrical charge at a certain point in the power lines. This sudden “jump” causes a spike in the electrical potential energy, which can increase the current flowing to the wall outlet. Fortunately, surge protectors and circuit breakers can protect you from power surges’ harmful effects. Surge protection should ideally be incorporated into the main power switchboard.

Electrical treeing is a phenomenon that often manifests in high power installations, including HV power cables and transformers, among others. It is a damaging process owing to partial discharges, which progresses through the stressed dielectric insulation, in a path that looks like branches of a tree. If treeing is not checked, it can cause the continuous deterioration of the equipment, and can eventually result in a total breakdown. To avoid the harmful effects of treeing, it is important to use high-quality materials tailored for the electric load. Regular maintenance by trained engineers is also essential.

Electrical power has become a vital part of modern day life, that even a momentary interruption in power supply can cause significant damages not only to electric devices, but also to business operations and human activity. So, for everything that concerns electricity, you should always seek for professional services, and trust nothing but high-quality equipment and installation. The initial cost may be higher, but you must remember that you are not only paying for mere products and services – you are investing in the continuity of your business, in your personal protection and in total peace of mind.    


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The 10 Biggest Power Outages Ever Recorded

Power outages can cause severe economic and social distress. A prolonged disruption of electric power, particularly on a larger municipal, district or regional scale, can have immense adverse effects on health, safety, and commerce & industry, so power utilities should be prepared to respond to cases of wide-spread power interruption.

We have trawled the Web to trace the 10 biggest power outages recorded in history. Here is what we found out…

1. July 2012, India

In what could be the biggest power outage in the world, the blackout in India in July 2012 left an estimated 620 million people without electricity. The outage was ascribed to the tripping of a circuit breaker, owing to a spike in electricity consumption during one of the hottest seasons ever recorded.

2. January 2001, India

In January 2001, almost 230 million people lost power due to a fault in the transmission system in one state, which caused a cascading failure throughout the other states in India’s northern region.

3. November 2014, Bangladesh

A failure of a power transmission line from India to Bangladesh caused a power outage that left more than 150 million people without electricity.

4. January 2015, Pakistan

Eighty per cent of the country, or 140 million people, was left without electricity after an explosion at a power plant caused a backward surge of electricity to the facility. This caused the tripping of power lines, leading to a cascading effect throughout the country’s grid.

5. August 2015, Indonesia

Caused by a major transmission line failure, and the consequent disengaging of several power plants, the power outage of August 2015 in the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java left more than 100 million people without electricity.

6. March 1999, Brazil

Ascribed to a lightning strike that caused cascading failure throughout Southern Brazil’s power infrastructure, the largest power outage in the history of Brazil left 97 million people without electricity.

7. November 2009, Brazil and Paraguay

When transmission lines from the power station at Itaipu were tripped by a major thunderstorm, 87 million people from Brazil’s most populous states and the entire country of Paraguay were left without electricity.

8. August 2003, US and Canada

Known as one of the “Northeast Blackouts” of the past century, the power outage of 2003 affected 55 million people. The outage was blamed to a technical error that caused the control room alarm system to fail to alert controllers about overloaded transmission lines, leading to widespread grid distress.

9. September 2003, Italy

With the exception of the island of Sardinia, the entire country of Italy lost electricity, leaving 55 million people in the dark. The investigation revealed that the outage was caused by a system overload following a storm damage to a power line coming in from Switzerland. This consequently tripped power lines running in from France.

10. March 1978, Thailand

A generator failure in a single power plant caused a nationwide grid shutdown for an entire day, causing inconvenience to more than 40 million people.

Multi-megawatt rental power plants are the ideal solution to stabilize the grid and support power networks. They are immediately available, can be deployed at a moment’s notice to anywhere in the world. They can be easily installed and are capable of continuously supplying reliable electricity in a matter of days. Temporary power plants can be easily connected to existing power infrastructure, and can generate electricity in sync with the local power generation plants or as a standalone system. They are flexible in power and voltage, and their output can be scaled up or down to meet varying electricity demands.

In hiring rental power plants, utility companies need not worry about capital expenditure; in fact, they will have significant savings in the operation and maintenance of the temporary power plants, owing to their reliability and fuel efficiency.

The effects of power outages to people, businesses, industries and social services can be devastating. Without electricity many of the most important needs of the modern society will go unmet. Because electricity plays such a vital role in our daily lives, its reliable and continuous supply is of utmost importance.


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quick Facts: How can rental power plants support utility companies?

Rental power plants can replicate or supplement permanent power plants. They are fully able to provide reliable electricity in times of:

Temporary power plants prove highly beneficial in:

Modern rental power plants utilize generators with:

Owing to the advancements in rental power technologies, temporary power plants guarantee exceptional performance and considerable operating cost reduction for end-users. Utility companies can reap the benefits of high reliability and cost-savings as they turn to renting power, in times when permanent power plants have stopped working or when they become increasingly expensive to run as they age.


Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505